Friday, August 12, 2011

Tales from the financial world are @ your library

The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques

The New York Times - Liaquat Ahamed

How had so ordinary a man pulled off the largest swindle in history? How had he gotten away with it for so long?…what sort of man lay behind that sphinxlike smile, and how had he coped for so many years with the psychological pressure of living with such a gigantic falsehood? The Wizard of Lies…makes for riveting reading because it covers all these dimensions. And although there is much that we can never know, this book comes closer than others have to answering at least some of our questions.

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner

Publishers Weekly –

Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times business journalist Morgenson and Rosner, a financial and policy analyst, turn the financial meltdown of 2008 into a whodunit as they cast about for motives and culprits. Their character-driven account even begins with a cast of craven characters (as in a mystery novel): Fannie Mae executives, subprime lenders, and regulators. Morgensen and Rosner dig into the wreck and come up with key moments—President Clinton's 1994 landmark speech (and his embrace of a "corrupt corporate model") aggressively promoting home ownership—and motives, chief among them the eagerness of subprime lenders to extend loans to people "based on their credit future, not their past," the laxity of regulators, and the timidity and cupidity of policy makers. The book ends with a withering look at current "reforms" (ironically enough "sponsored by the nation's most strident defenders of Fannie Mae," Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd) and a prediction that we'll "most certainly" have another 2008-style crash "because Congress decided against fixing the problem of too-big-to-fail institutions when it had its chance." A sobering account of some sordid recent history that's so clear and detailed that pros and novices will find its account rich and informative, and deeply depressing.

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani

Like Michael Lewis s Liar's Poker and Bryan Burrough and John Helyar's Barbarians at the Gate, this volume turns complex Wall Street maneuverings into high drama that is gripping.... [His] account of its death spiral not only makes for riveting, edge-of-the-seat reading, but it also stands as a chilling cautionary tale about how greed and hubris and high-risk gambling wrecked one company.

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